FSU Joins the “It’s On Us” Campaign

Recently, Dr. Gibralter released a statement that Frostburg State University would be collaborating with the White House Council on Women and Girls and the Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s health with the “It’s On Us” campaign, which encourages people to change their views on sexual assault. In the statement, Dr. Gibralter stated, “Instead of viewing it as something that happens only between a victim and an offender, It’s On Us wants everyone to know they have a role to play in preventing sexual assault”

In the last year and a half here in Frostburg, there have been two incidents related to sexual assault. Last semester, a male junior on campus broke into an off campus apartment and sexually assaulted a woman while she was sleeping. The most controversial incident was a former campus police officer accused of engaging in an inappropriate relationship with a student back in 2009.  The incident is still under investigation.  Even this semester, there has been an investigation regarding off campus parties where students are being unwillingly drugged by the “Jungle Juice.”

With all these devastating incidents happening in the past year, the It’s On Us campaign comes at a crucial time, in which students in the Frostburg Community can be encouraged to prevent further assaults from taking place by taking action. In the statement, Dr. Gibralter says “1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men are sexually assaulted in college, and only 13% of these rape survivors even report the assault.” This means that students, even on this campus, could have underwent an assault, and not had the courage to report it to anyone out of fear, shame, or guilt. Students can be more educated on the impact sexual assault can have on individuals, and address it correctly.  Witnessing it either directly, or being told about it indirectly, the campaign’s most important purpose is making sure that students don’t turn a blind eye to what they view as a sexual assault. It’s all on the students, as individuals, to alter their views of the importance of preventing sexual assault on college campus, and even elsewhere.

There were several students who were very vocal about the campaign itself. Gabrielle Atwell for instance, supports the campaign but finds some faults in it.  “The hashtag and the slogan is a good way to get rid of preventing sexual assault, but I don’t like the whole idea of prevention,” she said.   Veronica Williams however, a senior at Frostburg State, contrasted in opinion with Gabrielle.  “I think it’s good to bring awareness to something that hasn’t been brought to people’s attention already,” she said.  “Even though people already know about sexual assault, it’s always important to remind them so when situations occur they can realize that it’s not right, simply because they’ve been thoroughly educated on it.”

Tasha Proctor, a counseling intern and woman’s support group leader from Columbia University, felt very strongly about the campaign and its affect it can have for students on campus. “I feel that it’s an important initiative. I support any type of activities that help with issues related to women and women’s safety,” she said.  “If it’s done properly, I think it can substantially help the students on campus,” she said.  “The more awareness around an issue the better,” she said.  In regards of the importance of sexual assault from a woman’s standpoint, Tasha expresses that “as a woman and a human being,” sexual assault should be considered important no matter what the instance, race, or gender.

With the campaign comes little skepticism, but mostly optimism. The purpose and message of “It’s On Us,” has gotten people on campus talking, mainly about how important prevention of sexual assault is, specifically on campus. Many students and staff are hopeful that this campaign promoted by President Obama, can bring a change within the campus community, and encourage a safer environment and awareness for sexual assault across the Frostburg area.

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